Patent application title: CLOTHING ARTICLE INCLUDING A BUILT-IN BRA
Elizabeth L. Livingstone (Holmdel, NJ, US)
BALLET MAKERS, INC.
IPC8 Class: AA41C308FI
Class name: Breast or chest, e.g., brassieres combined with apparel-type garment breast supporting member within other garment
Publication date: 2011-04-21
Patent application number: 20110092133
A clothing article such as a leotard has a built-in bra that is connected
with the article only along an upper edge. The bra is thus free-floating
and provides improved fit, comfort, support and appearance to the wearer,
particularly during dance movements. The bra includes front and side wall
portions which are connected with the leotard. The back wall portions of
the bra contain an adjustable fastener and are free of the leotard so
that the wearer can adjust the bra for proper fit of the bra and the
1. A clothing article for females, comprising (a) an article of bodywear,
at least a portion of which is to be worn over the torso area of a
female; and (b) a support connected along an upper edge with said
bodywear article for supporting the wearer's breasts in a free-floating
2. A clothing article as defined in claim 1, wherein said support is connected by stitching into neckline and underarm seams of said bodywear article.
3. A clothing article as defined in claim 2, wherein a lower edge of said support is free of said bodywear article.
4. A clothing article as defined in claim 3, wherein said support comprises a bra having integral front, back, and side wall portions.
5. A clothing article as defined in claim 4, wherein said connection of said bra upper edge with said bodywear article extends continuously from one side wall portion, across said front wall portion, to another side wall portion and terminates short of a center of said back wall portion.
6. A clothing article as defined in claim 5, wherein said bra back wall includes two portions including a fastener for connecting and disconnecting said back wall portions.
7. A clothing article as defined in claim 5, wherein said bra includes support cups in said front wall portion for receiving and supporting the wearer's breasts.
8. A clothing article as defined in claim 1, wherein said bodywear article comprises a leotard.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 The invention relates to female garments and especially female dancewear having a built-in semi-attached bra to provide improved fit, support, comfort and appearance to the wearer.
 Conventional dancewear such as leotards and other types of bodywear are formed of stretch synthetic material that provides little or no support for the breasts of a female wearer. Thus, the wearer often wears a separate bra. While a separate bra provides adequate support, it often results in bunching of the outer garment during dance movement because the bra is not adjustable for proper fit. In addition, the straps or other portions of a separate bra are visible through the outer garment, especially during dance movement. This diminishes the appearance of the dancer and also provides discomfort to the wearer.
 Clothing garments having built-in bras are known in the patented prior art as evidenced by the Monroe U.S. Pat. No. 2,863,460 and Reichert et al Pat. No. 4,378,805. In the known prior art, the bra is connected with the outer garment continuously around the edge of the bra. While these prior devices operate satisfactorily, they are not particularly suited for dancers because they restrict the movement of the dancer and diminish the look of the dancer while performing.
 The present invention was developed in order to overcome these and other drawbacks of the prior art by providing a dancewear article having a built-in floating bra which functions like a traditional bra but without the drawbacks of a separate bra.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 Accordingly, it is a primary object of the invention to provide a clothing article for females which includes an article of bodywear such as a leotard, top, dress, or unitard and a support structure such as a bra connected with the bodywear article. The support structure is connected with the bodywear article only along an upper edge so that the structure supports the wearer's breast in a free-floating fashion. More particularly, the bra has front, side and back wall portions, with the back wall portion being separated at the center thereof. Only the upper edge of the front, side, and a portion of the back wall portions of the bra are connected with the bodywear article. According to a preferred embodiment, the bra is connected with the bodywear article by stitching into the neckline and underarm seams of the bodywear article. The lower edge of the bra is not connected with the bodywear article.
 A fastener is connected with the ends of the bra back wall portions to join them together. The fastener and adjacent portion of the back wall portions are not connected with the bodywear article in order to prevent bunching of the article and an improper fit of the bra on the user. That is, the floating bra adjusts to the user to allow freedom of dance movement while maintaining a proper fit of the bra.
 The bra includes support cups, typically made of molded foam material, which are stitched to the front wall portion.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
 Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from a study of the following specification when viewed in the light of the accompanying drawing, in which:
 FIGS. 1 and 2 are front and rear plan views, respectively, of the clothing article having a built-in bra according to the invention;
 FIG. 3 is front plan view of the bra according to the invention;
 FIG. 4 is a rear plan view of the bra of FIG. 3 with the back wall portions connected together; and
 FIG. 5 is a rear plan view of the bra of FIG. 3 with the back wall portions disconnected.
 The preferred embodiment of the invention will first be described with reference to FIGS. 1 and 2. As shown therein, an article of bodywear such as a leotard 2 is provided. The leotard has a stitched neckline seam 4 and stitched underarm seams 6 as is known in the art. The leotard further includes vertical straps 8 and openings 10 in the bottom portion for the legs of the wearer.
 A bra 12 is connected with the upper portion of the leotard. As shown more particularly in FIGS. 3-5, the bra includes a front wall portion 12a, side wall portions 12b, and rear or back wall portions 12c which are joined together by an adjustable multi-position fastener 14 such as a conventional hook and eye fastener system with multiple anchor points or a VELCRO hook and pile fastener system. Because the fasteners are separate from the garment, bunching, gathering and wrinkling of the garment is prevented. The fastener thus affords a proper fit of both the garment and the bra.
 The front wall portion 12a of the bra contains a pair of bra cups 16 which are preferably formed of molded foam material as is known in the art. The cups are encased in a knit fabric material which provides a limited amount of flex or give for sizing and comfort. The bra is formed of a stretch synthetic material to afford the wearer a full range of movement since dancers use muscular structure behind the breasts for movement. As the dancer moves, the breasts move with the dancer because the bra is fully adjustable and made of stretch material. The bra is supportive, but the breasts are still allowed to move in the direction of the muscle and not stay stationary with the torso as is the case with separate bras. Bra cups of different sizes, widths and shapes may be provided to accommodate wearers of different sizes.
 A characterizing feature of the invention is the manner in which the bra 12 is connected with the article of bodywear. Referring once again to FIGS. 1 and 2, the upper edge of the bra front and side walls and a portion of the upper edge of the rear wall connected with the bodywear article by stitching 18, such as a flat cover stitch or similar methods, preferably along the neckline seam 4 and the underarm seams 6. In addition, a portion of the rear wall portions 12c is stitched along its upper edge to a seam at the top of the back of the bodywear article as shown in FIG. 2. A portion 12d of the back wall portion of the bra where the fasteners 14 are provided is not connected with the bodywear article so that the rear of the bra may be adjustably connected via the fastener for a proper fit. The connection between the bra and bodywear thus extends from a position on the right back quarter, through the right side, front, left side, and to the left rear quarter of the bra, but only along the upper edge. The remaining portion of the bra is not connected with the bodywear article in any fashion so that it floats relative to the bodywear article.
 The vertical straps 8 are only provided on the outer garment for design features, styling, and proper fit. No additional strapping for the bra is required as is the case with separate bras which are not connected with the article.
 Because the bra is only connected with the outer garment at its upper edge, the appearance of the clothing article, both off the wearer such as when hanging on a display rack, and on the wearer such as during dance movement, is improved. When worn, the garment is unique when compared to garments of the prior art in that it offers a polished seamless look and shape, it provides support to the user, keeping the breasts in place while in motion, and provides a comfort level which enhances the esteem and confidence of the wearer.
 Although the invention has been illustrated and described as a leotard with a built-in bra, other types of active wear or sports wear including tops, dresses and unitards may also be used as the outer garment and provided with a built-in floating bra connected only along its upper surface with the garment.
 While the preferred forms and embodiments of the invention have been illustrated and described, it will be apparent from those of ordinary skill in the art that various changes and modification may be made without deviating from the inventive concepts set forth above.
Patent applications by Elizabeth L. Livingstone, Holmdel, NJ US
Patent applications by BALLET MAKERS, INC.
Patent applications in class Breast supporting member within other garment
Patent applications in all subclasses Breast supporting member within other garment